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June 2008

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I’m Baa-aack!

Last July, the boom on our Fairweather 39 April Dancer hit my head so hard that, a week later, my wife Tessa had to take me to the hospital emergency room, where they drilled a hole the size of a silver dollar in my skull to fix the leak and drain the slush. I figured I wasn't going to make it through the operation, and that Tessa would go through hell. So just before the doctors started, I wrote to her to say that if I made it through the operation, I would make her long-held dream of going back to England come true. Well, I made it through the operation.

Following my commitment, we asked McGrath Yachts to sell April Dancer, said goodbye to Latitude 38 and all our dear friends in California, and we went to England to look for somewhere to live. We figured that when the boat sold, we only had to sell our house before moving back to Blighty. But after 10 days in England, Tessa sat quietly by my side and said that after considering all the aspects of living in England, it was not the right thing to do at this time. I leaped at the telephone. It was 2 a.m. in California, but I called Ed at McGrath Yachts to take our boat off the market. She had almost been sold!

My sailing buddy, Southern Californian Pieter Kokelaar, who also has a Fairweather Mariner 39, the Lady K, asked if I would like to join him for a springtime sail to Santa Catalina Island. I was on a plane to LAX while the phone was still warm. We have sailed tens of thousands of miles together — Mexico several times, Hawaii, and many California cruises — so it was like old times. I couldn’t believe my luck.

No matter if we do a short sail or a long cruise, there's always at least one significant incident. But we always get home safely, and frankly, sailing with this guy is all about laughter and the sheer delight of magnificent sailing, so we never care what fate has in store for us. Anyway, if the worst happens, it’s a magnificent place in which to be swallowed up.

This trip was unusual because Pieter had built an 8-ft, wooden, lapstrake dinghy. It’s a work of art! Towing the dinghy, we sailed to Catalina and anchored. The next morning I got to row the new dinghy, and found that it is as easy to row as it is beautiful to look at.

I have hip problems that I can't get fixed until July. So until then, I'm not very agile unless I take strong pain killers. However, if I take the pills regularly, the pain finds a way around the medication, and they stop being effective. So most days I grunt, cuss, and limp. Then, when I want relief for a special day’s event, I take the pills and it’s like a vacation. My special day was going to be the next day, the day we sailed back to Marina del Rey. The weatherman promised conditions for a seven-hour fast reach in sunshine and calm seas. I just had to be fit for that.

After I had a solo practice row around the harbor, Pieter rowed us to the dinghy dock. We walked. Well, he walked and I hobbled to the little village at the Isthmus. I got some film for my 35mm camera at the little general store and, after we chatted with the locals, walked back to the dinghy dock. I changed the film in my camera.

"You rowed over, shall I row back?" I asked.

"Sure," Pieter responded. "Careful how you climb in."

I sat on the dock and partly slithered into the dinghy, trying to keep my weight in the center. But with my limited maneuverability, I couldn’t move fast enough. The dinghy skated away and I tumbled into the water! My clothes and junk weighed me down, so I began to sink like a stone. I flailed my arms, trying to grab hold of anything to save myself. It was only when my head went completely under that I lucked out and grabbed the mooring line of another dinghy that was tied to the dock. I pulled hard, and as my head rose above the surface, the dinghy rammed my head into the dock. My language was not pretty. But at least I knew I had a fighting chance to live. Pieter grabbed my arm, and with a mighty heave I crawled onto the dock. Man, I felt such a bloody fool!

We recovered the dinghy, but it looked like one of the oarlocks was missing, so Pieter went into the village to see if he could replace it. Meanwhile, I went to the picnic area, took all my clothes off, soaked them in fresh water, and squeezed out as much as I could. I managed to shower my naked body in fresh water, dried off in the towel, and put my wet clothes back on. Pieter came back with a new pair of oarlocks, and we returned to the dock. When we did, we found the missing oarlock wedged under the floorboards. So he walked all the way back to the store to return the one he'd bought.

By the time Pieter got back to the dock, the sky was cloudy and rain threatened. I was really cold, so I offered to row the mile back to Lady K to get warm again. Fortunately, I had a change of dry clothes on board, and soon got warm. But Lady K looked like a Third World laundry.

The next day was bright with sun and a moderate breeze, promising a glorious sail home. It was also a high-power pill day for me, so free from pain, I felt great! With a full main, big jib, and staysail, Lady K skipped over the ocean like a song. The sun lit up the world like it was brand new, and I moved around the boat like a 20-year-old. I must admit there had been times in the last year when I thought I'd never have that feeling again, but the sail was as intoxicating as dancing jive with Tessa to the swing music of Benny Goodman.

We have plans for next spring. The medics are going to fix my hips with all new parts and a complete lube job, so I should be as good as new from the waist down. There will be plenty of recuperation time before Pieter and I go for one more cruise to Mexico. Oh, I can hardly wait! Typically we sail Lady K about 50 miles offshore of L.A., then turn south and ride the strong winds and huge seas day after day, night after night, for a thousand miles. The windvane does all the steering and, at nighttime, the boat surges at 10 knots down the big seas, steady as a church. I’m not ashamed to say that, on previous occasions, I’ve looked up into the sky, where stars are so bright and clear, and swear that I could almost touch them.

I’m sure I was meant to experience all of this. Otherwise, why help a creaky old guy to find a boat’s mooring line just before it was too late? 

Lyn Reynolds
April Dancer, Fairweather 39
San Jose

Lyn — We're glad to have you back. Even Lisa is glad to have you back.


In Latitude's otherwise outstanding FAQ article on diesels back in November, the following statement caught me by surprise: "Diesels love to run, and are perfectly happy to idle for long periods — which anyone who's ever pulled into a truck stop can attest to."

Although the answer goes on to discuss important and real differences between diesel and gas engines, this comment about idling reinforces an oft-repeated myth of the 'happily idling diesel.' In fact, running a diesel with little or no load for a duration of more than a few minutes causes a number of very serious yet readily avoidable problems. In particular, idling — or any underloaded operation such as battery charging for that matter — can lead to the accumulation of carbon in all sorts of important components such as injectors, valves, the exhaust manifold, and so forth, the accumulation of corrosive sulfuric acid, and other detrimental effects.

Idling or underloaded use are separate issues from the virtues of 1) Initially and gently breaking in a new engine; 2) Properly warming a diesel before each use; 3) Allowing the engine to idle after loaded use so components — especially turbochargers, if applicable — can cool properly.

The third edition of Nigel Calder's book on Marine Diesel Engines addresses the negative effects of idling on page 51: ". . . many cruising boats, particularly auxiliary sailboats, compound problems with inferior fuels by running their engines without properly warming up (e.g. when pulling out of a slip) and/or for long hours at light loads to charge the batteries and run the refrigeration at anchor. The engines run cool, which causes moisture to condense in the engine. These condensates combine with the sulphur to make sulfuric acid, which attacks sensitive engine surfaces. Low-load and cool running also generate far more carbon (soot) than normal, which turns diesel engine oil black after just a few hours of engine running. This soot gums up piston rings, and coats valves and valve stems, leading to a loss of compression and numerous other problems."

Furthermore, Yanmar advises not to idle their diesels for more than five minutes. The bottom line is that idling diesels is great . . . for diesel mechanics.

The origin of the 'happily idling diesel' myth is unclear, but Latitude is right about it being widely held — including by terrestrial diesel users such as long-haul truckers and wannabe truckers with their diesel pickups idling away at the proverbial Gas 'N Sip. Of course, that doesn't make it so. In fact, there are a growing number of communities and even 15 states that have passed anti-idling legislation to prevent unnecessary pollution.

Jamie Gilardi
Con Brio, Catalina 30
Moss Landing

James — Idling or running diesels under light loads for any more than short periods of time is indeed not good for engine life. We apologize for the misinformation. But the engine damage is yet another good reason to have solar panels for charging batteries and running the refrigeration and watermaker systems. Some folks avoid the no load problem by putting their engines in gear while in their berths — a practice not permitted in many marinas — or even on the hook. But we think solar panels are ultimately the much better way to go.

On the other hand, we can't help wondering how destructive idling diesels is. After all, the majority of bareboat charterboats in the world have their engines running under virtually no load for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening to keep the refrigerator cold. And we've yet to hear of lots of problems with ex-charterboat diesels. Perhaps it's just the difference between a diesel lasting for 10,000 hours and lasting for 12,000 hours. Maybe an expert can offer some insight.


On the night of April 6, while I was singlehanding from Mexico to the Marquesas, a sailing vessel that I'll leave unnamed, also en route to the Marquesas, saw something resembling a flare. Due to the sea state and direction of the wind, and the fact that they didn't have a functioning engine, they didn't take any action other than reporting the sighting on the Ham and SSB nets the following day. I can best paraphrase their description as, "I saw a white streak going up and a red meteor going down — it was so bright that it lit up my sails."

When reported to both the SSB and Ham nets, none of the net controllers seemed to know what to do with the information. I found it rather discouraging. One boat volunteered that there were emergency frequencies to report such things, but nobody seemed to take much action. One of the net controllers on the Ham net did volunteer to contact the Coast Guard.

The next day I heard a French 'marine safety' aircraft calling the vessel that first made the report and a second vessel on VHF 16. When neither of them responded, I got on the radio. I spoke to the crew of the airplane, who said they were investigating the reported sighting of a flare. I gave them the most recent positions I had — from the morning's net — for the two boats they were looking for. They also asked for my position, course, and speed, which I provided. We chatted a bit more before wishing one another a good day.

It's nice to know that if I were sitting on a raft, someone would take the whole thing seriously — even if the response took two days, and the patrol aircraft that had been dispatched only had 90 minutes of fuel — which is what they told me.

I later heard the same plane making repeated calls to at least one, possibly two, "U.S. sailing ships," giving an approximate position close to where the flare had reportedly been sighted. There was no reply.

Later in the day, I was again contacted by the crew of the same jet, as they were ending their search and returning to base. They informed me that they'd found nothing, but were happy to have been of any assistance. Should their services ever be needed, they can be contacted through the Marine Resources Coordination Center via .

I've been a little miffed that so many boats in the fleet do not have their VHF radios turned on. True, there was weird VHF propagation that allowed me to hear and talk clearly with boats on Banderas Bay, Mexico, when I was 550 miles away at Isla Clarion. And sure, it's a nuisance to hear the VHF kick in while you're off watch trying to catch some precious sleep. But the safety net is pretty thin out here, and it would be nice to know that more boats were at least making the effort.

Wayne Meretsky
Moonduster, S&S 47

Wayne — The "flare/shooting star" incident reminds us of two similar ones that we've been involved with. The first was when we were sailing our Ocean 71 Big O across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to St. Lucia about 15 years ago. We had a mixed group of experienced sailors and rookies and, at about 2 a.m., while about two-thirds of the way across the Atlantic, and while barrelling downwind in about 20 knots and a decent sea, we were awoken by a rookie crewmember who said, "We saw a flare!"

We charged on deck, adrenaline pulsing through our body, and asked where. In a surprisingly calm manner, two rookies said, "Back in that general direction," and vaguely pointed aft. When we pressed for more specifics about the direction, distance, and characteristics of the flare, they sheepishly replied that they'd actually seen it about half an hour before. When we demanded to know why they hadn't woken us immediately, they said they weren't positive it had been a flare as opposed to a shooting star. That certainly put the whole matter in a different light.

We consulted with our co-skipper for the trip. After evaluating the fact that we'd been seeing countless shooting stars, that the rookies couldn't accurately describe the direction or distance of the 'flare', couldn't accurately describe its characteristics or even be sure it was a flare, and had worked themselves into a froth that "maybe there were helpless people in a raft," we decided to put a call out on VHF to see if we got a response from any boats needing help. There was no response.

After some further discussion, the co-skipper and we decided that it was unlikely there had been a flare, and that we should continue on. One of the female crew, who we'd graciously allowed to invite herself along on the trip, then started to work on us. "What if there's someone dying in a raft?" she kept saying. "Wouldn't you want someone to come back and help you?" Of course we would, but we felt that was beside the point. After all, you have to make your decisions based on facts rather than emotions. Partly to placate her, we got on the SSB and, somewhat miraculously, established contact with the Coast Guard in Miami. We explained the situation and asked them what we should do. They took all the details of the 'incident', but neglected to offer us any guidance. Satisfied that we were doing the right thing, we continued on our way to St. Lucia, and slept well.

About noon the next day, we heard the crew of a Coast Guard C-130 on the VHF. We contacted them, and it turned out they were searching for the 'boat' that had fired the flare that we had reported. After hours of roaming around searching the now nearly calm waters, they headed back to their base, confident there had not been a boat in trouble. When we thanked them for their efforts, they told us not to worry, that they loved flying and, in any event, needed to put in some training time.

No boats were reported lost during that time period, so we're certain it had been a shooting star as opposed to a flare. After all, during long passages, it's not at all uncommon for novices — and even veterans — to have their minds play tricks on them at night.

As for the power of suggestion, it can really allow imaginations to run wild. For instance, we remember the time that an extremely experienced offshore couple grabbed the mic for the VHF radio while off Maui and shouted for an oncoming ship not to run them down. It was only after a couple of minutes, during which time their bodies became drenched with the sweat of fear, that they realized they had mistaken Venus for one of a ship's white range lights! They were so frightened it didn't seem to matter that there wasn't a second range light.

And that's not unique. A former Air Force officer told us that in the '50s, when Hamilton Air Force Base was still active in Marin, a squadron of fighter jets was scrambled to defend the coast against what were believed to be incoming Soviet jets. Once again, somebody atop Mt. Tam had mistaken Venus for something entirely different.

Our second 'flare/shooting star' incident took place during a Ha-Ha about five years ago. Shortly after sundown, one entry reported seeing a flare — or what might have been a flare. This was another time when there were lots of shooting stars. But then two or three other boats reported the same thing — although in different directions and with different characteristics. We were naturally very concerned, and others started to get really worked up. We took the positions of the reporting boats and plotted them — and quickly discovered that they were as much as 125 miles apart! Since flares can't be seen from anywhere near that far, either several boats in distress were firing flares, which seemed highly unlikely because there were no corresponding radio requests for help, or they'd been seeing shooting stars, a much more likely possibility.

To assuage the concerns of a few, we contacted the Coast Guard's Search & Rescue center at Yerba Buena. They took our report, decided that it was likely shooting stars, and for a variety of reasons — no known position of the 'flare' being number one — left it at that. During the Ha-Ha roll call the next morning, no boats were missing, but a lot more folks reported having seen shooting stars.

Based on our 30 years of covering sailing accidents, it's relatively rare — but not unknown — for boats to suddenly go down in the open ocean. But no matter if a boat is leaking, has caught fire, or been holed by a whale, the crews usually have time to make Mayday calls on the VHF, SSB, or Ham frequencies, to switch on an EPIRB, to make calls on a satphone, or to fire a number of flares. And even if they have to take to a liferaft, they should still be able to signal for help with flares, VHF radios, satphones, or an EPIRB. As such, if we were to see what was positively a flare, or certainly if we saw two or three flares, we'd take immediate action. But if it was a secondhand report, or from a novice crewperson, we'd be much more hesitant to do so. How about you? Email with your thoughts.


On April 20, my boyfriend and I witnessed boating behavior so egregious that I am compelled to bring it to your attention. At approximately 1:15 p.m., we were walking along the south side of the Santa Cruz Wharf. It was a sunny but chilly day, so there was less than normal boat traffic in the protected waters just off the main beach. My boyfriend called to my attention an impressively large ketch that was motoring from southwest to northeast to the south of the pier. We estimated that the 50+ foot boat was travelling at about eight knots under engine alone.

Another sailboat, smaller and under sail, crossed her bow heading west. The skipper didn't appear to stand down, which was troubling, but our vantage point was such that we couldn't say if there had been a risk of collision.

But what followed next was more alarming. As the skipper continued to drive the boat forward, her course took her extremely close — I’d guess less than 15 feet — to what looked like an eight-foot paddle-powered inflatable raft being operated by two adults and a child. Whoever was at the helm of the ketch — there appeared to be a dozen people in her cockpit — he/she had no sails to impair his/her vision, yet he/she not only didn't reduce speed, but passed so close to the raft that the operators were startled and yelled.

But the fun wasn’t over yet. After buzzing the raft, the helmsman turned the boat hard to port, and appeared to take aim at very large and visible grouping of sunbathing sea lions, who were floating in a tight linear formation with their fins up out of the water. There was plenty of room for the helmsman to have taken an alternate course, and although the boat was nearing the pier, the helmsman didn't appear to cut the boat's speed. The sea lions didn’t react until the very end, a mere second or two before the bow of the ketch plowed through their 'rest area'. The big beasts finally reacted, scattering as best they could under the circumstances. But I wouldn't be surprised if one or more of them didn't suffer at least a blow of some kind.

I’m writing this in the slim chance that someone else reported it, and in the hopes whoever was at the helm will have his/her opportunity to explain his/her behavior to some uniformed authorities.

Stephanie L.

Stephanie — We didn't see the incident, so it's hard for us to comment on it. However, it's not at all uncommon for operators of vessels under power — more often the operators of powerboats — to treat their vessels as if they were highly maneuverable sports cars on a California freeway, and therefore feel free to come very close to other boats and sea life. It goes without saying that the safety of others needs to be respected at all times, and that sea lions, like all marine mammals, are well-protected under the Marine Mammal Act. So please, everyone, let's respect the comfort zones of others.

As for one of the sea lions actually being hit by the boat, we'd think the chance of that is extremely slight. They may be big and blubbery, but they are surprisingly fast and maneuverable in their element. After all, how else could they track down and catch fast-moving fish?


I'm the current manager of ProMotion, West Marine's Santa Cruz 40. We’ve been really happy with how much you’ve been featuring our boat. It even makes me a little misty-eyed. But could you pretty please change your records to reflect the fact that she's a Santa Cruz 40 rather than an Olson 40? Every time that I’ve seen her name published in Latitude, the type of boat has been wrong. We’re proud of our boat, and I’d love for it to be touting the Santa Cruz name with pride!

Lauren Goché
Port Supply Inside Sales, West Marine
Northern California

Lauren — Our apologies, but we don't think we make that mistake often. In fact, when we Googled 'ProMotion + Olson 40' in the Google search specific to Latitude 38, nothing came up. But when we Googled 'Promotion + Santa Cruz 40', there was a number of references.

Then we got to thinking that your letter may have had something to do with the Ha-Ha announcement in the May issue Sightings. The publisher wrote that article, left a couple of blanks to be filled in by other members of the staff, and left instructions that a specific shot of ProMotion be run. Then he took off early for a birthday celebration with his kids. We must not have given very good instructions, because certain parts of that article were mangled. Specifically, the wrong photo of ProMotion was run, and then the caption indeed identified her as being an Olson 40.

But that wasn't the worst of it. Somehow a member of the staff filled in blanks in the first line to claim that there have been 6,000 boats and 21,000 sailors who have done the Ha-Ha in its 14-year history. No way! The number of boats is just under 2,000 and the number of participants about 7,000. We apologize to everyone for the mistakes.


I just finished reading the May issue Changes, and it struck me that more and more articles are about how expensive the marinas are in Mexico, and how expensive it's become to cruise there. I've been reading your fine rag since the '80s, and it seems that articles are suggesting that it's not only getting more expensive in Mexico, but places like Panama, too. There was mention in the May issue of yet another free anchorage being lost down there.

It's no surprise that cruising costs more now than before, and that anchoring out is preferable to marinas. But sheesh, is it still possible to go cruising on a limited budget? I guess I’m getting more paranoid as retirement looms and I'm getting the dreaded 'fixed income' mind set.

Lani Schroeder
Balance, Endeavour 43

Lani — If your boat is in reasonably good condition and you can take care of the basic maintenance, we know of no place where you can enjoy life more fully on less money than cruising in Mexico — as well as Central America and Ecuador. There are countless wonderful people to meet, and an astounding variety of things to see and do, and it doesn't have to be expensive at all. As we've said over and over again, the budget killers are marinas, eating and drinking in tourist places, and having to hire other people to do your boat work. Absent those three things, you can darn near live like a king cruising in Mexico on Social Security.

Avoiding slip fees in Mexico is, unlike in the States, very easy. There are countless places to anchor, many of them not far from marinas. Nor do you have to spend a lot of money to enjoy dining out in Mexico. As we mentioned last month, our crew dined out for three nights in a row at Rancho Viejo in La Paz, where as many as seven of us stuffed ourselves for $17 — beer and margaritas not included. And the beer wasn't expensive. In this month's Changes, you'll read about Lupita's in what's becoming high-end Punta Mita, where a couple can have a great meal for under $10. Alcohol isn't included, of course. These two examples may be less expensive than most, but they are typical of what's available if you ask around and eat where the locals eat. When it comes to groceries, we spent $136 provisioning for four for our six days at Isla Partida during Sea of Cortez Sailing Week. That didn't include booze, but we had half the food left over at the end of the week. Compare that with the $15 we pay for a salad and a small soup lunch at Whole Paycheck Foods in Mill Valley.

And remember, if you're cruising in Mexico, you don't need a car, car insurance, or gas for the car. Public transportation is good — and lots of fun, too.

If you're not mechanically inclined now, it behooves you to pick up some basic electrical and diesel skills prior to sailing south. It will not only make life easier on you, it could save you lots of money — for example, when you install the solar panels as recommended by William and Soon in a letter that follows the next one.


When our family returned to our Nevada City home in the Sierra foothills after three great years of cruising adventures, everyone — well, almost everyone — was looking forward to life back home for awhile. The kids understandably wanted to hang out with their friends and family, whom they'd only been seeing during our summer breaks from cruising. The kids were also ready for regular schooling, and my son's main goal in life was to get his driver's license.

My wife and I had dreamed of taking our kids cruising, and we had achieved our goal. In the process, we had some of the greatest experiences, so we'll have family memories that we'll cherish for the rest of our lives. But life is full of compromises, so we accepted the fact that it was time for us to return home.

But now that we're back home, certainly realities have been setting in — such as the cost of living in the United States. Sure, it's been great being back, telling everyone of our adventures, and answering everyone's questions. The questions are usually the same, and come in the following order: Did you ever get caught in a storm? Weren't you worried about pirates? Did you carry guns? Were you ever scared — or at least a little nervous? The answer to all these questions was no.

The question folks who were considering cruising asked the most was, how much does it really cost? The most accurate answer is, whatever you can afford. We met people out cruising on every level and budget. The 'less is more' thing is true, yet everyone has their own comfort level, too.

But after being home the last several months, we've come to realize how much more expensive things are here in the States, and that it was less expensive to cruise. We kept our home and cars and stuff while we were cruising, most of which we paid off because we knew we were coming back. We still had a modest income, and despite all the expenses of cruising, we were able to save about 20% of it. The scary part is now that we're back, it seems awfully hard to save anything. We're living the same lifestyle as we always have, but now there is a lot less left over at the end of the month. Is it cheaper to cruise or live in the States? For us, the answer is that it was cheaper to be cruising. In fact, we can't wait to go cruising again — and save some money! The '09 Ha-Ha is starting to look very attractive.

Joe, Melinda, Joseph & Jacque Day
Daydreams, Pearson 385+
Nevada City

Readers — We couldn't agree with the Days more, that you can spend as much as you want while cruising. However, it's also possible to cruise — even in otherwise extremely expensive places — on a very small budget. Cruisers do it all the time.


A year ago we wrote in about cruising on alternative energy. We've been at it again this year, and want to encourage cruisers to wean themselves off fossil fuel. Yes, you can actually live well and cheaper without it. This is not a 'tree hugger' myth, as it actually works fantastically well.

We've been cruising about six months a year in the Eastern Caribbean for four years now, living mainly on our wind and solar energy generators. As stated in our previous letter, we have three 75-watt solar panels mounted on the bimini of our Morgan 38, plus a KISS wind generator.

Here in Grenada in the West Indies, we've had fresh and consistent wind for several weeks. As such, we've had energy to spare. In fact, on many occasions we've had to turn our wind generator off to avoid overcharging the batteries!

We have no gas or diesel generator, and would never consider having one due to the noise and having to get fuel. Our wind and solar generators power our refrigerator, Spectra watermaker, lights, radios, television, waterpumps, and other electrical appliances. We store our amps in four Trojan T-105 deep cycle wet cell batteries.

Add our good mainsail and jib, and we pretty much live on the gifts of Mother Nature.

William & Soon Gloege
Gaia, Morgan 38
Santa Maria, CA / Currently anchored in Hartman Bay, Grenada, West Indies

William and Soon — Over the course of last summer, we took a 6,500-mile motorcycle ride — 55 mpg on our Kawasaki KLR 650 — around the West, and were dumbfounded by the number of spectacular mansions that we saw being built in the 'white ghettos' of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. These are the expansive and expensive second and third homes of folks who are famous for occupying them only a couple of weeks a year. Compared to a simple but efficient cruising yacht such as Gaia, we can't help viewing them as ridiculously inefficient — if not indecent -— uses of limited resources. What's more, we bet you have more fun with your boat than most of them do with their seldom-occupied palaces. After all, the path to happiness is paved with interesting experiences, not things.

Anyway, we're delighted to note that you folks are part of a growing number of cruisers who use very little, if any, fossil fuels other than for propulsion. With limited needs and excellent sources of alternative energy to meet most of them, the future doesn't look gloomy at all. And let's not forget that there are some big time racers thinking along the same lines. When Francis Joyon took off to astound the world with his recent 57-day solo circumnavigation aboard his 97-ft trimaran IDEC, he insisted that he not use any fossil fuels in the process. Brilliant!

If any of you other folks out there cruising are living almost entirely off Mother Nature, we'd love to hear from you also.


Last year I wrote about a mess left on our boat, and the generally disheveled state of affairs at the Vallejo Marina, after the departure of the Vallejo Race fleet. Things weren't as bad after the race this year, but it was still disturbing. As I was re-coiling our power cord — which had been partially unwound by someone and was almost in the water — a red blotch caught my eye. Looking to the side, I could see it was red wine spilled on the deck of our boat! A plastic wine cup, as well as dried wine, were right there against the starboard toerail that we'd just varnished. My assumption is that someone, not having found a trash receptacle in the immediate area, set the cup down and it blew over in the wind. It would have taken about two minutes to rinse it off before it stained.

It wasn't a huge job for us to clean up the mess, as it only took about 30 minutes of scrubbing. And it appears there isn't a lasting stain. Nonetheless, it's very irritating for me to find that someone has made a mess of something that my wife and I care very much about. Our boat is by no means new, but we do take pride in her, so we not only try to maintain her, but improve her — and keep her clean. For example, the gelcoat on our boat is original, but it's still shiny.

When it comes time for the Vallejo Race next year, I think I'll move my boat so racers won't use her as a garbage can anymore. I don't think that I should have to make changes for the one or two people who are probably the culprits, but we care about our boat, as she's our second largest investment, and we're willing to do what's necessary to protect her. We're not wealthy, and therefore do most of the boat work ourselves. We have hundreds of hours invested in making our boat nice, so I get a little testy and irritated when other people mess her up.

So please, people, try to be a little bit more aware of your actions, more respectful of other peoples' property — and clean up your messes!

Name And Boat Name Withheld By Request

N.A.B.N.W.B.R. — As much as we empathize with you, and agree that people should clean up their messes, we think you're taking this a little too personally. We're sure nobody intentionally left the wine glass to fall over. Some guy racer probably met some female racer, became intoxicated by her beauty, and forgot the plastic wine cup he set on your deck. And then it blew over.

If it happened to our boat, we'd have the same reaction as if a bird pooped on our deck. We'd grouse about it, clean it up, but forget about it after a few minutes. To get so irritated about something like that can't be good for your health, so we agree, the smartest thing you can do next year is take a little cruise that weekend. Maybe anchor at one of the quiet spots on the Napa River. And maybe the folks at the Vallejo YC can do one more sweep next year to police the areas racers have been.


Do you have a way to contact Glenn Tieman, the subject of Latitude's May interview?

We met Glenn in La Cruz in '85 when our family was cruising the west coast of Mexico. In fact, we helped Glenn haul and clean his 26-ft catamaran Peregrine. At the time, we — my husband and two children, then aged seven and three — were aboard our Nor' Sea 27 Bear, doing a pretty good job of bare-bonesing it ourselves. But we really enjoyed hanging out with Glenn, and our son even wrote a page about him in his log.

It's been over 20 years, but it's funny how often we still think of Glenn — even though we never even knew his last name. My husband had previously built a Wharram 35 catamaran — which he sold to his partner because, OK, I'm not a fan of multihulls — so he and Glenn had lots in common to talk about. Anyway, we'd love to reconnect with Glenn, send him the log entry, and let him know how much he impressed us those many years ago.

Gay Coleman, Phil Lantz, Justin & Emma
Gig Harbor, Washington

Gay — As a matter of policy, we don't give out contact information, nor do we have the time to forward emails. But sensing Glenn might really want to hear from you, we've made a rare exception and passed your email along. We can understand your wanting to contact him, as he's a very unusual and interesting person.


If you go to, you'll see a guy videocamming himself — from a kite — while he's sailing his Dana 24. I'd like to see an article on how he does it, as I think I might like to try it sometime.

Mike Hummell
Cal Sailing Club, Berkeley

Mike — You can see such an article by going to the March issue of Latitude 38 and turning to page 117. And you don't even need a kite to do it.


I just read the April Letters where you asked for help identifying the collective noun for sting rays. According to Wikipedia, it's a 'fever' of stingrays.

Eric Friedman
Planet Earth

Eric — Thanks for the answer. But that still leaves one question unanswered — who gets to make up the crazy names for the collections of various animals and fish?

We're also going to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the best cure for getting barbed by a stingray is not urine, but water on the wound as hot as the victim can stand it. It's also important that the patient visits a doctor to make sure all the barb has been removed so the wound won't get infected. We all know, of course, that an ounce of cure is worth a pound of prevention, so when moving on flat sand beaches, shuffle your feet rather than take astronaut-like steps.


I'm neither an American nor an active sailor. In fact, I live in Ulm, Germany, about 600 miles from the nearest ocean. Nonetheless, I like Latitude. I smiled when I read Janet Hein's idea in the May Cruise Notes of selling steel drums as wi-fi reflective antennas. Unfortunately, she probably won't be able to make much money trying to sell them. There are already similar alternatives, such as can be found by Googling 'Pringles antenna' or 'Cantenna'.

The concept of simple wi-fi antennas has been discussed a lot, and while a Pringles can is effectively too small for wi-fi frequencies, basically any can can be converted into a reasonable directional wi-fi antenna. Unfortunately, these antennas are illegal, at least here in Germany. The antennas themselves are not illegal, but the legal transmission power is limited, and the gain from these antennas is high enough that it's easy to exceed the legal limits on (omnidirectional) transmission power with such a (directional) antenna if you connect it to a standard wi-fi port on a PC or router, and therefore its use is a bit limited.

Markus Imhof
Ulm, Germany

Markus — Thanks for the kind words and info. We've seen people with the Pringles antenna, but never got any feedback on how they — or any other alternative antennas — might work. Feedback please.


I suppose one way to respond to Stephen Lee's April letter on Kwajalein would be to thank him. Many of the residents of the island, and I, got quite a few laughs out of his outrageous portrait of Kwaj. For that, we are forever in his debt.

Nonetheless, I also feel compelled to point out the many errors and misstatements he made. I'm not sure what 'day' he was on the island — my guess is that it was sometime between Khrushchev's famous shoe-pounding incident at the United Nations, and the death of Chernenko, which resulted in the demise of the Cold War. Times have changed since then, and so has Kwajalein although from what I've seen and learned during my short tenure here, things were never as draconian as Lee suggested.

It's true that many years ago there was a Russian ship that monitored activities on Kwajalein. She was affectionately known to residents of the island as Brand X. But to claim that a private yacht wouldn't be allowed into our harbor for a edical emergency is absurd. In fact, cruising yachts have not only been allowed to enter Kwajalein, but crew needing medical attention were met at the pier by an ambulance and taken to the local hospital for treatment.

The truth is that cruisers are allowed to sail into Kwajalein and come ashore — providing they have a sponsor on the island who is willing to vouch for them. I know of at least four cruising yachts that stopped at Kwaj to see friends — and then the crew ended up getting jobs here! And they're still here. In fact, what better way to build up the cruising kitty than by spending a few years on a beautiful atoll in the Central Pacific.

To make this point even clearer to those in the Bay Area, one of your own, Holger Kreuzhage on the well-known Sausalito-based 74-ft schooner Lord Jim, requested permission to come in as she cruised by. Permission was granted. Her crew spent some time on the island reprovisioning and doing some mechanical work. The local newspaper even did a story on them.

And last month we were visited by a beautiful French — French! — boat on charter, and their crew was allowed to come ashore. Believe me, impounding cruising boats is about as far down the Kwajalein Police Department's 'to do' list as our island is from lovely San Francisco.

I guess I also must question both Mr. Lee's and Latitude's dismay over my being hired as the harbormaster. I suppose I can see how, on the surface, hiring a guy from the mountains of New Mexico to be harbormaster at an atoll in the middle of the Pacific might seem a little odd, but I've spent my whole life on or around boats. Besides, is being a harbormaster not a skill that can be learned? And while I intend no offense to the harbormasters of the world, it's not exactly rocket science. Although, right now I'm coordinating the loading of a large cargo ship for a supply run to Meck, as well as lifting a crane off the Worthy, the queen of our fleet. (Check out Worthy in Wikipedia — she's a beauty!) So at times it does get hectic.

My stay here on Kwajalein has been wonderful so far. The Marshallese people are friendly and have a most interesting culture. And the sailing is great! In fact, I've been working on a piece about life on Kwaj — including the sailing and sailors — for Latitude.

Guy Sandusky
Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands


I saw the letter from Mark Johnston, in which he expressed his concerns about getting on and off high freeboard boats. We're in the same situation, as our Insatiable II has moderately high freeboard, and after cruising for more than 20 years now, neither Ann nor I is as spry as we once were. My solution is to rig a temporary step for the rare occasions when we come alongside a low floating pontoon.

This simple device is like a kid's swing seat — a bit of scrap wood roughly 6 by 14 inches, with a bridle from each end that terminates with a stainless hook that attaches to our perforated aluminum toe rail. Its height is such as to divide the distance from deck to dock roughly in half, and provides Ann (usually) with a convenient perch from which to leap. She often makes it, too! We also use it for alongside dinghy access when required, although we usually come onto our boat via her sugar scoop transom. All in all, the device is pretty useful, and if you have the usual bin full of junk aboard, costs about nothing.

As for us, we're now in Broken Bay, which is just north of Sydney, on our way north after another so-called summer in Tasmania. Despite the cool weather, Tassie remains one of our favorite cruising grounds. This was our eighth season in Tasmania, but hopefully not our last. We're not too sure about cruising plans for the upcoming winter season, but it will be somewhere in the islands. I guess we'll just see which way the wind is blowing when we leave. We've been down here so long that we now consider this part of the world to be 'our patch'.

Jim and Ann Cate
Insatiable II, Standfast 36
Morning Cove, Broken Bay, NSW Australia
ex-Northern California


Having had a Classy Classified for my boat in Latitude, I've made a couple of observations that I'd like to share.

1) Dealing with Mary, who is in charge of the Classy Classifieds, has been a very positive experience. I delayed the start of the running of the ad twice because my boat wasn't yet ready to show, and both times Mary was totally easygoing about postponing the ad.

2) The price of the Classy Classifieds is absolutely reasonable. A year ago I advertised the same boat in a Southern California marine newspaper and in a glossy Southern California boating magazine, and in both cases the ads cost more money for fewer words.

3) I've gotten much better response from my Classy Classified in Latitude than in the other two publications. All I got from the other two were, with one very minor exception, phone calls asking for me to donate my boat.

4) The online component of your Latitude's classified advertising resulted in my getting emails and calls from England, Australia, and Canada, as well as the United States. This feature seems very effective and wide-reaching.

Thanks for providing this service, and thanks for the positive spirit with which you and your staff provide it. 

David G.
Wind Spirit, DownEast 32
La Paz

David — We certainly appreciate the nice comments. Latitude was founded on the principle that if we provide what we believe is the best and most extensive editorial content, the readership will follow, and then so will the response to the classified and display advertising. The verdict is still not in on the business model, but after 31 years it looks promising.


You made a request in 'Lectronic for reports on the Baja Bash this year. After three years of cruising, which started with the '05 Ha-Ha, and with us making it as far as the Galapagos Islands, we were dreading the uphill Baja Bash from Cabo to Ensenada. But thanks to the wealth of weather information on the web, and especially daily weather forecasts from Don Anderson of Summer Passage on the SSB, we were able to pick a great window for our Bash. We left San Jose del Cabo on April 25 and, after four days of 20 knots or less of wind — and often less than 10 knots of wind — we pulled into Ensenada.

We had been prepared to stop at any sign of lousy conditions, but were able to drive right by Bahia Santa Maria and Turtle Bay, at which point we took the rhumb line to Ensenada. We feel extremely fortunate to have been able to take advantage of the light conditions.

Our suggestions for future Bashers are all common sense: 1) Be ready to go when the conditions are right; 2) Plan your stops for when and if conditions worsen; and 3) Prepare your boat for whatever the Pacific may throw at you. I'm also a firm believer of staying close in, as I think the conditions are normally milder there.

John & Gaye Rodriguey
Maestra, Sunnfjord Trawler
Coupeville, Washington


I had an interesting Bash with Jon Shampain aboard the SC50 Horizon after the Cabo Race in March. We had a normal trip up to Turtle Bay, with no more than 22 knots of true wind. But the engine smoked for the last 70 miles to Turtle Bay. To make a long story short, we bent a rod and had to sail up to San Diego. We did it by making one long starboard tack out to Guadeloupe Island, and one long port tack back to the Coronado Islands just south of San Diego. The weather and sea conditions were benign for that part of the trip, and our elapsed time for the 350-mile rhumbline distance — we must have sailed at least 25% more — was 3.5 days.

David Faulkner
Planet Earth


I delivered Tom and Richelle Brown's Liberty 458 Dragonfly from Paradise Village to San Diego in April. As you may recall, Dragonfly had been in Mexico since the Browns did the Ha-Ha in '03. I was a bit concerned about the condition of the boat, and especially the fuel, since she had not been run for over two years.

Two crew and I left Paradise Village on April 19, after a couple of days of getting the boat ready, fueling, and provisioning. We brought plenty of extra Racor fuel filters, but as it turned out, we only needed to change them three times.

We made Cabo in 50 hours, having motorsailed into headwinds that averaged 20 knots. There is nothing like going to the weather in a 30,000-lb boat with a 90-hp Perkins diesel driving a large, fixed, three-blade prop. We spent 24 hours on the hook in Cabo getting fuel, dropping off one of the crew, and resting.

With just two of us heading north from Cabo on April 22, we decided on three-hour watches. We had no problem at Cabo Falso, but then the wind came up to 20 knots on the nose. It stayed that way for two days, at which point it started to blow even harder. We motorsailed with a double-reefed main, and followed the rhumbline course to Turtle Bay, which took us offshore of Abreojos. For the next 8 to 10 hours, we had wind in the high 30s and low 40s — on the nose, of course. The high winds caused the seas to rise, so our average speed over ground dropped to 3.5 knots. Most of the seas broke over the deck during that time, but a few broke on the dodger.

At one point I began to wonder if we had enough fuel to make Turtle Bay. We did have 30 gallons in jerry cans on deck but it would have been difficult to get the fuel from the cans into the tanks in those kind of seas. Fortunately, we made it to Turtle Bay with 25 gallons in the main tanks and didn't need the fuel in the jugs. Before we even had the anchor down in Turtle Bay, Jonathan came by in his panga and offered fuel at $2.50/gallon, delivered to the boat via a large plastic tank, generator and pump with a nozzle. We took on 140 gallons. He even gave us a ride to the dock to check the meter before we paid him. But we already knew he was being honest, as we knew how much fuel we'd arrived with and the capacity of the tanks. 

We spent the day resting and drying out, then departed Turtle Bay at midnight. Per the recommendations of Jim Elfers in his Guide to the Baja Bash, we went outside Cedros in calm seas. After passing Punta Norte at dawn, the breeze finally came up to about 20 knots, once again on the nose. It finally laid down a bit off of Ensenada, giving us time to clean up the boat in anticipation of a late night arrival in San Diego. We arrived at midnight, and seemed to get rushed through Customs, thanks to so many Ensenada boats returning at the same time.

Our average SOG was just over six knots for the trip, mostly motorsailing with the mainsail but sometimes with the staysail as well. We used about 350 gallons of diesel. At an average price of $2.50 a gallon — yes, diesel is much less expensive in Mexico — for a fuel cost of just under $900. We had a full or nearly full moon for much of the trip, which was a real bonus.

We'll see everyone in Mexico next year!

Pete Sauer
Sail Montana/Big Sky Yachts

Peter — We're glad you had a reasonably good trip. While some boats got beat up, Doña de Mallorca reports that she had the best of her eight Bashes to date with Profligate. With returning crew George Cathey, Chuck Hooper, and Ray Catlette along, de Mallorca left La Paz on April 24 and arrived in San Diego just 102 hours later, having averaged nine knots. What was the maximum wind strength for the entire trip? "Oh, I don't know," said de Mallorca, "maybe seven knots." It was that mellow.

The interesting thing about their Bash was that all the weather sources forecast 10-ft seas at 10-second intervals — real crappy conditions — for when they got to 100 miles south of Ensenada. Many smaller boats understandably holed up in Turtle Bay, but de Mallorca called us on the Iridium and said that she and her crew were going to go for it. "Most years you have '10 by 10' conditions for weeks at a time in the spring just north of Turtle Bay," she said, "so it wouldn't be anything we haven't seen before." Despite the fact that all the forecasts called for crap weather, they never got hit by anything at all. As we've said before, that's why they call them weather forecasts instead of guarantees.


Back in the day, when I owned a Cal 25, we were cruising along off Malibu one afternoon when we saw a gray whale. He was swimming right toward us, seemingly almost on the surface. I certainly didn't want a collision, so one of the crew, a neophyte sailor, volunteered to go up on the bow and sight down into the water in case the whale got too close. Well, the whale went deep. With my friend leaning over and peering into the water — which was flat at the time — the whale suddenly surfaced and blew on the other side of the bow. My friend almost fell in the water! I think the whale was just having some fun with us.

Mike Kennedy
Conquest, Cal 40


I've got some information to supplement the April issue Accidental Whaler piece that appeared in Sightings.

The reason why vessels sometimes collide with large whales, but not dolphins, might be because 'toothed' whales, such as dolphin and orcas, have the ability to echolocate. They do this by directing a series of clicking sounds in a narrow beam in a chosen direction and receiving an echo that is transmitted through their lower jaw to their brain to create a 'picture' of their surroundings. This sonar-like ability allows them to find prey, avoid predators, and navigate around moving or stationary objects. The baleen or 'non-toothed' whales, such as the grays, blues and humpbacks, who feed by filtering sea water through brush-like baleen in their mouths, have very sensitive hearing, but do not have the ability to echolocate. As such, they are much more likely to collide with a moving vessel.

Since returning from Mexico, I've been volunteering at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, and have learned a lot about the sea that I wish I'd known when I was cruising. A reference that I wished I'd had aboard is Oceanography, an Invitation to Marine Science by Tom Garrison, which is published by Wadsworth/Thompson Learning. I recently bought a used copy of the 4th Edition from Amazon.

In addition, anyone interested in knowing more about whales should checkout the ACS (American Cetacean Society) website at There is a set of data sheets that describe the characteristics of each whale species as well as their geographic range. These data sheets can be individually downloaded and kept aboard in a notebook for easy reference.

Jack Goffman
Royal Sceptre, Sceptre 41
Dana Point

Jack — The only puzzling thing is why non-toothed whales, which have such good hearing, are sometimes still hit by noisy power vessels. Perhaps the whales assume they have nothing to fear.


You may have read that Albert Hofmann, the father of the mind-altering drug LSD, whose medical discovery inspired — and arguably corrupted — millions in the '60s hippie generation, has died. He was 102. The Swiss chemist discovered lysergic acid diethylamide-25 in 1938 while studying the medicinal uses of a fungus found on wheat.

For a time, LSD 25 was sold under the name Delysid, and doctors were encouraged to try it themselves. It is one of the strongest drugs in medicine. One gram is enough to drug an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people for 12 hours.

LSD was elevated to international fame in the late '50s and the '60s thanks to Harvard professor Timothy Leary, who embraced the drug under the slogan 'turn on, tune in, drop out'. "LSD can help open your eyes," he once said. "But there are other ways — meditation, dance, music, fasting."

Hofmann retired in 1971 at age 65, and devoted his time to travel, writing and lectures.

What has this got to do with sailing? Sailing is a wonderful non-drug way to get high and to live a long life. To quote Hofmann, "You could say it is a consciousness-raising experience without LSD." Turn on, tune in, go sailing, and live long!

Mike Chambreau
Impetuous, Cal 34
Los Altos

Mike — We're aware of Hofmann's death, thanks to an excellent obituary in the L.A. Times.

Having been a student at UCSB and UC Berkeley in the late '60s, taking a dozen or so acid trips might as well have been part of the curriculum. There may indeed be other ways to "help open your eyes," but based on our experience, LSD opens them about 20,000 times wider than meditation, dance, music or fasting. That said, we can't say that acid helped us 'see' any better. Being older and wiser, and having watched acid reduce some friends to vegetables many years ago, we certainly wouldn't encourage anyone to 'blow their mind' these days.

If someone wants to hallucinate naturally, and without all the hard edges and potentially permanent destructive possibilities of LSD, we recommend doing the Singlehanded TransPac or some similar shorthanded event. Participation in events such as those will take you to where minds don't usually go. Some of you will remember that during Joshua Slocum's famous circumnavigation on Spray, he was assisted by one of the crewmembers from Chris Columbus's Santa Maria. Such hallucinations are common as salt in the ocean.

There's another LSD connection with sailing. Back in the '60s, Tom Perkins, who was to go on to found the famous Kleiner/Perkins venture capital juggernaut, and ultimately commission the 289-ft Maltese Falcon, perfected a low-cost laser in a workspace on University Avenue in Berkeley. He shared that space with Augustus Owsley Stanley III, a sound engineer with the Grateful Dead who became the first and most famous underground chemist to produce large quantities of pure LSD. Owsley's acid is said to have been critical to the emergence of the psychedelic and the hippie movements. What a trip — as we used to say way back when.


Yes, I know, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," or so said Ralph Waldo Emerson — who never explained the difference between foolish and wise consistency. I still find it annoying that you consistently refer to Cabo San Lucas as 'Cabo', to Zihuatanejo as 'Zihua' and never, ever — not even once — do you refer to San Francisco as 'Frisco'. With that in mind, I now propose that the sailing trip back north from Mexico be called the 'Frisco Ho-Ho'.

William F. Steagall, Sr.
Inspiration, Garden Steel Ketch
Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard

William — Actually, we do try to be consistent, but it's a little more nuanced than you might be aware of. For example, have you noticed that after a letter, we only include the name of the writer's state when it's outside of California? We'll write 'Seattle, Washington', or 'Honolulu, Hawaii', but always just 'Los Angeles' as opposed to 'Los Angeles, California'. Similarly, we only use nicknames for cities that are outside of the United States. Thus 'Zihua' for Zihuantanejo, but not 'Frisco' for San Francisco. It's funny, isn't it, that such minor and inconsistent style matters should mean so much to the publisher? But they do.


I have a couple of kudos.

First, the Lube It or Lose It item in the April issue Sightings. Thank you for passing along what we marine surveyors constantly tell boat owners: "Lubricate the winches and other deck hardware!"

The other is for the 25 Things Every Sailor Should Know article. Particularly items 3, 4, and 15:

"3.) Maintenance — Boats need regular maintenance." Again, I stress that boats need maintenance. I recently surveyed a 20-year-old one-owner boat that, the owner admitted, had never had a winch serviced. When I turned the wheel on the same boat, there was a loud squeak from under the binnacle compass. The chain and sprocket had also never been lubricated!

"4.) Know your boat." I recommend that buyers open all lockers and storage compartments, take every thing out, check their condition, then clean the locker of dirt and sawdust, mold and mildew, then make a written inventory before replacing  anything. The chart your article suggested was an excellent idea!

"15.) Safety Equipment." I ask boatowners where the emergency equipment is located, and they reply, "Let's see, where did I put those fire extinguishers when I bought the boat? Oh, they are under the vee berth." When the vee berth is opened, the fire extinguishers are there, in their original boxes, along with the factory wrapped life jackets, 20-year-old flares, and all the rest.

The rest of the safety suggestions are more important than anything else. Get to know how to use the VHF radio by reading the owner's manual and listening to other boats. And listen to Channel 16 while underway. When you have guests aboard, brief them so they can handle the emergency gear and can call Coast Guard if you fall overboard or have a heart attack.

If the readers have questions about any of the above, contact the SAMS® surveyor that surveyed the boat when they bought it. (Oh, if you did not have a SAMS® professional look at your boat, call one, as I'm sure they will be glad to help.)

Jack Mackinnon, AMS®-SMS
San Lorenzo


I think you may have misunderstood the issue of my letter in May's Latitude about how dangerous it can be to climb the breakwater at the Nayarit Riviera Marina in La Cruz. I don't believe the marina owners went out of their way to construct a breakwater that would cause an injury — I was trying to point out the potential for serious injury.

The picture you provided of the nearby stairway shows the perspective from the top of the steps, and does not include a clear picture of the lower step, which is over 90% eroded. Potential for injury? I'd say it's pretty good.

I think your solution, a panga taxi service, such as exists during the season at Barra de Navidad, is an excellent one. But that has yet to develop. In the meantime, I have a solution — if the marina doesn't object. I will pay for the cement needed to construct modest steps over the breakwater, or repair the eroded lower step of the walkway, to reduce the chance of cruisers getting injured. It shouldn't take more than 20 bags of cement to secure the wobbly rocks, and possibly place a couple of bars with chain or rope as a handhold. Perhaps Philo Hayward of Philo's Music Studio and Bar could arrange it, and I could reimburse him.

At least I am willing to put my money where my concerns are, and if that is also ridiculed, so be it.

Jerry Metheany
Rosita, Hunter 46
Elk Grove / Mexico

Jerry — We're a little confused with what you mean by the "stairway." Are you referring to the most frequently used path up over the breakwater, or the base of the walkway from the beach up to the top of the bluff? If it's the former, we agree that it's not safe for older folks, folks carrying big loads, or at night. If you're referring to the paved pathway going from the beach up to the bluff, it didn't appear to be hazardous at all when we were there a few months ago.

When it comes to the money needed to make potential modifications that would greatly reduce the chance of injury, we don't think that would be a problem. Latitude, along with Philo, could arrange a little fundraiser that would solve that problem immediately. In the case of putting steps on the breakwater, it probably would have been easier to do it 'the Mexican way', which means that it's easier to ask forgiveness after you've done it than permission to do it. After all, owners of brand new marinas are understandably none too keen about outsiders wanting to make modifications to their project — even if the outsiders are willing to pay for them. So somebody can ask the marina if they would agree to cruisers putting in steps, but we wouldn't be surprised if the answer was no. In the case of fixing the base of the pathway up to the bluff, nobody is going to object to that. In fact, once the rainy season is over, and before the winter cruising season has resumed, we'll make it our personal business to make sure that pathway is safe. Maybe we'll even put in a few solar lights to make it easier to see at night.

The best solution, however, would be if the marina decided to change its policy and make it possible for cruisers to once again bring their dinghies to a dinghy dock at a reasonable price. And there are signs that something like that may happen. After all, the marina's summer slip fees have been lowered significantly, and we've even received unconfirmed reports that boats have been allowed to tie up for several hours for free. We're not sure what things will be like in the winter high season, but we like to think that the marina has learned that making the marina more accessible to everyone will ultimately put a lot more money in their pockets. After all, there's no reason the Nayarit Riviera Marina shouldn't be packed, and the store, restaurant, and bar hopping.


Our North American sensitivities have been appalled by the extent of garbage in the water and on the beaches of Mexico. We've been cruising the outside of the Baja peninsula, down to Banderas Bay, up to Mazatlan, and through the Sea of Cortez for the past nine months, and have been continually astonished by the volume of garbage everywhere. We've spent time trying to clean up remote beaches by filling garbage bags with plastic bags and bottles, only to have the debris replaced with the next high tide. We've witnessed families enjoying a fiesta on the beach, only to find they leave their beer bottles, food wrappers, and diapers behind — usually within walking distance of a garbage can. Idyllic looking small coves that we've shared with the occasional fishing boat have been littered with the refuse tossed overboard by the fishermen. We just don't get their attitude towards garbage. Is this an 'out of sight, out of mind' thing, or an 'it's not my beach, so I don't give a shit' deal?

If FONATUR, the Mexican tourist ministry, was serious about promoting the Sea of Cortez as a pristine marine environment for tourists to explore, shouldn't there be some attempt at education, programs to clean up areas, or other means of dealing with the situation? I understand that some communities — such as La Paz and Puerto Escondido — have made their own attempts to clean up beaches, and keep them clean through proactive garbage pickup programs. Programs like this may not be possible everywhere in Mexico, but it could be a first step in changing attitudes toward a cleaner environment.

I have travelled extensively overland through developing nations in eastern Europe, Asia and West Africa, so I have experienced how garbage is handled in these various places. Perhaps the worst shithole I've ever seen was at the Cambodian border town of Poipet, where amputees and AIDS victims slept amongst piles of plastic and household refuse. But the extent of the garbage I've witnessed in some locations along the coast of Mexico — such as Bahia Catalina near Guaymas — rivals that of Poipet. Some countries, such as Thailand, have successfully made the transition from the banana leaf wrapper to modern plastics, yet have learned to properly dispose of the garbage.

The gringo hangouts in Mexico aren't immune to the accumulation of garbage either, although the more popular anchorages that we've been to — Matanchen Bay, Caleta Partida and Conception Bay — are decidedly cleaner. At Bahia San Carlos, oil-covered Coke bottles floated through the anchorage. At Los Gatos, we saw cruisers discarding their cans into the bay just a few hundred yards from the anchorage, and ashore found that other cruisers had buried their garbage. Burying or throwing garbage overboard is at odds with the concept of cruising in unspoiled and clean surroundings. Although we haven't experienced it, we've heard that the water in anchorages such as Barra de Navidad and Zihua become so tepid, and the fecal coliform count gets so high, that cruisers are reluctant to go swimming to cool off. Is this the dream cruise people envisioned?

I’m not exactly a greenie-weenie, but we've always tried to have a minimal impact wherever we go, and I thought cruising fit that concept. We try to reduce the amount of garbage produced on board, but since nearly everything except fruit and vegetables is prepackaged, we end up with one bag full of garbage nearly every week. When we take this ashore, we anticipate that the 10 pesos we give to the local entrepreneur ensures our garbage will be properly disposed of. Given the attitudes we've seen, this may not always have been the case. If we had more storage space, I'd pack the garbage with us until we reached a major center with adequate garbage disposal facilities. Instead, I just have to hold my fears and try not to feel guilty about contributing to the situation.

As relative newbies to the cruising scene, I've got some questions that I hope you or your experienced audience may provide answers to. Can we expect to see this extent of garbage throughout the coast of Mexico? If so, how do cruisers deal with it? Do they accept it as part of the experience, attempt to clean it up, or just leave? Does this same degree of disrespect for the environment exist all the way into Latin America?

I don't think that negative responses to these questions would stop us from continuing on with our cruise, but it may help us avoid some areas and mentally prepare us for other unavoidable situations. When we are on passage and the warm wind is pulling us along, images of garbage-strewn beaches are the last thing on our minds. Maybe there is a message there. 

Geoff Goodall
Curare, Bowman 36
Vancouver, Canada 

Geoff — Litter awareness seems to largely be a function of affluence. Once most people have shelter, food, transportation, and entertainment, they tend to want those same things, but in a clean and well-kept environment. That's why Belvedere, for example, looks like Belvedere, and Hunters Point looks like Hunters Point. We've been cruising in Mexico for over 30 years and, in that time, it's become much more prosperous. And, believe it or not, it's also become cleaner — particularly if you factor in the much greater potential for garbage they have now compared to before.

This is not to say Mexico, which is still poor, doesn't have a long way to go. The problem is that old habits and cultural attitudes are slow to change and die hard. Nowhere is that more evident than here in the States, where we Americans are finding it very difficult to change the way we've been wasting energy and other resources. The Japanese and Europeans, who pay twice as much for fuel as we do but drive cars that are twice as fuel efficient, are mystified that we complain about high fuel prices. They view us as punching ourselves in the face and then complaining that our noses are getting bloody. "Bloody idiots!" is the way one Brit friend put it.

With respect to Mexicans throwing beer cans overboard or out of cars, or large families leaving all their trash behind when leaving the beach for the day, the Mexican government has been trying to address the problem. Everywhere you go there are 'No Tirer Basura' signs along the roads. At most populated beaches, many brightly-painted garbage cans have been put out, and teams of cleanup crews in bright vests police many areas. Unfortunately, you still see fishermen and families throw crap on the ground not 20 feet from garbage cans, so it's going to take time. Although it's taking a long time, we've seen change for the better.

As for cruisers, we're collectively a much cleaner group than we used to be. Our rule on Profligate is that if you take inorganic stuff to sea, you bring it all back to shore. And we think most other cruisers are on the same page. That certainly wasn't the case 20, 15 or even 10 years ago. There still might be a few exceptions, but these days cruisers have no compunction about speaking out against those cruisers who might litter the water or shore. The bigger problem, which you brought up, is knowing what happens to the inorganic garbage that you bring back to land. In larger cities, it's not a problem, as there is more regular garbage collection and, hopefully, an intelligent way of disposing it. But in sparsely populated areas, there's not much you can do but get whoever takes your garbage to promise they won't just dump it in the nearest ravine.

The fecal coliform problem is somewhat different in that you can swim in 99.99% of the waters in Mexico and not have to worry about it. We've never hesitated to swim anywhere in Mexico because of pollution, although we might be careful around urban areas immediately after it rains because of a lack of sewage treatment. Of course, that's not much different in the States either. As you might remember, last winter we had about a billion gallons of partially treated sewage spilled into the Bay. And if we're not mistaken, the City of Los Angeles still pays millions of dollars a year in fines for polluting Santa Monica Bay because it's less expensive than fixing their sewer system.

So what's the litter forecast as you head south? We've never found it to be that bad, but we expect at least some of it wherever there's poverty. Except, of course, where people are so poor they can't afford stuff that comes in wrappers. On the individual level, the best you can do is what you've been doing — lead by example and leave areas cleaner than you found them. And try to get the local kids to buy into the program.


Having taken a first and a second in two winter racing series, Bill Woodruff, my partner in our Catalina 30 Huge, and I were filled with confidence, so we decided to take on the Farallon Islands for the first time by doing the 58-mile Doublehanded Farallones Race.

It was predicted to be a difficult race this year, with winds forecast at 20 to 30 knots, with 12-ft swells and 5-ft wind waves on top of that. After the loss of the Cheoy Lee Offshore 31 Daisy, and the deaths of her two crew in the Doublehanded Lightship Race a short time before, Bill and I were going to play it safe. Our strategy was to 'get the T-shirt, get the boat home, then wear the damned T-shirt'.

Prior to the skippers' meeting, Victor Gray, an old friend, told us that 20 sailors have died in the Doublehanded Farallones. Gray and his friend Bob Lugliani have sailed almost every Doublehanded Farallones, first on his Catalina 38 Fat Bob, and now on his Express 37 Phat Jack.

The weather seemed fairly calm in the Bay on the morning of the race, so we figured that perhaps the forecasts for strong winds had been over the top. We got a perfect start, and thanks to pointing higher than the other boats in our division, looked as though we had a healthy lead by the time we got to Land's End.

But once at the Lightship, a little less than halfway to the Farallones, the wind picked up dramatically to about 25 knots true, and the swells to 10 feet and breaking at the tops. The wind waves were slightly smaller, but broke at about a 60° angle to the swells, so we were getting hit broadside by them. Given the conditions, we partially furled the headsail and reefed the main, and everything seemed manageable.

By the time we got to the Farallones, the conditions had gotten much worse. In fact, we actually saw a Moore 24 leave the planet. Yes, there was daylight beneath her keel.

It was about this time that I had an eerily spiritual presence manifest itself as a real voice in my head. It was Victor Gray's voice. He had once laughed about the Doublehanded Farallones Race, saying that, when sailing to the islands, they appeared to be near, but after an hour of looking at them, you are still seeing them, and rather than looking magnificent, they are like an irritating joke.

Be that as it may, this is when Mama Nature decided to slam the lid on our fingers. The headsail furler broke, causing the full 135% jib to unfurl completely. Bill recommended that we retire immediately, but there seemed to be three problems with that. First, we were near the Farallones already, so we'd be turning around very soon anyway. Second, the waves were now way beyond the paltry 10 feet that had been forecast. In fact, Huge became airborne on the backside of some of them. One or two of the monsters were so big that we were still going uphill without the pulpit peeking over the breaking top. It seemed that we needed the power of the unfurled sail in such conditions. And lastly, as Bill pointed out, we were ahead of the other boats in our division.

So we decided to stick it out with a summer cruising sail fully exposed. Naturally, conditions continued to get worse until we began reaching around the west side of the island. At that point, we noticed that the outhaul boom slug had failed, and the main was secured to the boom by only the reef line and the outhaul. So Bill lashed the clew to the boom with some spare line. It wasn't as easy as it sounds.

As we jibed around the island, the gooseneck bracket broke, allowing the boom to float free of the mast. Once again, Bill bravely climbed out of the cockpit to lash things down and stabilize the rig.

As if that weren't enough, we suddenly became aware of a starboard boat approaching on a collision course. So there we were, almost 30 miles out in the ocean, with another boat headed right at us. Our only choice was to duck her by steering a course parallel with the waves. We didn't want to do this, as it seemed inevitable that we'd be rolled, but knowing that we had no rights, we did our duty. Then, just as our boats got very close together, a wave and a gust combined to round Huge up in a big broach, which brought us to within inches of a collision. The helmsman on the other boat might have been too busy with other things because he didn't appear to notice.

It had been hard on Bill making the repairs in those conditions. Not only did it take guts to climb out of the cockpit, but once out, he was violently flung all over the place. In addition to the misery of trying to hold onto the boat and solve some mechanical problems, he began to exhibit signs of hypothermia. Early in the race we'd both been doused by a wave and never had time to dry off. So now Bill's arms were numb, his body was shaking convulsively, and he didn't seem to be completely lucid.

I instructed him to go below, put on some extra clothes that I had, and get warm. Once he dried off and changed clothes, he tried to come back on deck again. But he was still cold. I asked him if he'd eaten any of the hot stew we'd brought along, but he said he hadn't — out of solidarity with me. Now that's a hero. But I told him he wasn't allowed to come back on deck until he'd eaten some stew. His health was one reason. The fact that a chef had stayed up until midnight making the stew was another.

While he was below, I was busy trying to surf our boat — which is about as graceful as a school bus — in those challenging conditions. Since I was a novice at this, it was pretty difficult and I wasn't very good at it. But surprisingly, it became second nature before long! It's remarkable how quickly you can become familiar with the rhythm of the waves, even in confused seas. Of course, my view was to the front, so the walls of water rearing up right behind the boat went unseen by me. When Bill had eaten and warmed up a bit, he looked aft out the companionway. Based on his expression, the waves must have looked a lot more threatening behind us.

As it turned out, the run back into San Francisco Bay was uneventful. The surfing actually proved to be excellent, as we had many 10-knot runs and one burst to 11 knots. As we entered the Bay, there were very light winds and calm seas. We wondered if anyone would believe us if we told them what we'd been through. As we neared the finish, we heard the skipper of Fox Fire thank the race committee for "the usual character-building experience." He couldn't have said it better — except for the "usual" part.

That evening, while we were trying to summon the energy to clean up the boat, we got a call from Victor, asking if we'd retired. He was astonished to learn that we'd stuck it out. And while we had the fourth-slowest elapsed time in the fleet, we corrected out in front of Phillipe Kahn's Open 50 Pegasus. Once Victor got over his shock, he immediately tried to get a commitment from us that we'd do the race again next year.

I suspect that the Doublehanded Farallones is sort of like childbirth, in that the really bad parts are forgotten and only the good memories remain. So no, we didn't commit to anything that night. But it's been a couple of days now, and I'm already losing the uneasy feeling that comes with having put my life in the hands of another, and accepting that his life is in my hands also.

I remember that, when the furler failed, I was acutely aware that both Bill and I have small children, and any additional mistake that either of us might have made would have affected many. So there was a momentary mixture of determined desire to return safely and the thrill of living on the edge. I think that was a pleasurable feeling, but I'm still not entirely sure. Perhaps I will have to try the Doublehanded Farallones again next year to know for sure.

Russell Houlston
Huge, Catalina 30
Walnut Creek

Russell — Congratulations on finishing the race — and providing what we think is an illuminating account of a typical first-timer's trip around the Farallones, with the normal highs and lows that are to be expected. Just for fun, we decided to ask Paul Martson, who crewed with Dean Daniels aboard the latter's Hobie 33 Sleeping Dragon, taking corrected-time honors in Division II, to describe the race conditions. The veteran of about a dozen trips around the Farallones, who is preparing to race the boat in the Pacific Cup with Daniels and third crewmember Debi Cohn on the Hobie, described them thusly: "It was lumpy, it blew about 25 knots true, and we got a little wet. It was in the mid to upper range of conditions I'd experienced in sailing around the Farallones in previous races."

There are two observations we'd like to make. First, you shouldn't have been surprised that it was calm when you got back inside the Gate. There's an ancient Northern California racer's axiom that states, "When it blows outside, it will be calm inside; and when it's calm outside, it will be howling inside." It may not be true all the time, but very often it is.

Second, either Victor Gray misspoke or you misheard him, because it's not true that 20 sailors have died doing the Doublehanded Farallones. We've been covering that event since the beginning and, according to our records, the total is six. The worst year was '82, when 127 boats went out only to be hit by unexpected winds of up to 60 knots. What's worse is that the wind blew from the southeast, making it very difficult for boats to lay the Gate, and making the Marin coast a lee shore. Indeed, nine boats were either lost on the Marin shore or, in the case of two catamarans, were driven up on the beach intentionally. By the following morning, the seas were up to 20 feet and more. Janice Rice, owner of the Ranger 22 Sweet Omega from Portland, and her highly experienced ocean racing crew Larry Ohs, also of Portland, were simply never heard from again. The same was true with Greg Maimone of Castro Valley-based Moore 24 Bad Sneakers, and his crew, John Benson of Alameda. Both were experienced offshore sailors. Despite the wicked conditions, forty boats finished the race, including five Moore 24s, two Santa Cruz 27s, a Catalina 25, and a San Juan 24. Some benefited from rain squalls to 60 knots, which briefly 'flattened' the seas in the Potato Patch.

Northern Californian Dennis Madigan was killed in the '84 Doublehanded Farallones, when Greg Sawyer's Stiletto 27 catamaran California Crew'd, a pretty dicey ride for the Gulf of the Farallones, hit a submerged object on the way back from the island and broke up. Madigan expired clinging to the wreckage, while Sawyer was eventually rescued. In the tragic '82 race, Sawyer and Madigan, surfing at 25 knots, hadn't been able to lay the entrance to the Gate, so they simply drove the little cat right up the beach at Double Point. A year later, with the same boat, they were first to finish the Doublehanded Farallones.

The most recent victim was Harvey Schlasky, who did the '99 race with Mark Van Selst on Schlasky's J/29 White Lightning. The boat broached badly about five miles from the Gate, throwing both men overboard. The boat recovered by herself, and took off again — dragging both sailors, who were tethered to the boat, and whose lifevests had inflated, alongside. Van Selst eventually managed to pull himself back aboard but, before he could stop the boat, Schlasky had lost consciousness. Although the Coast Guard arrived a short time later, Schlasky had expired. Schlasky's death was particularly troubling because he had all the safety gear — and it's almost as if it sort of conspired to kill him. Participation in the Doublehanded Farallones dropped significantly in the following years.

Sailing — and particularly racing — in the Gulf of the Farallones is serious business. For whatever reason, nine boats didn't start this year's Doublehanded Farallones, and 16 boats retired. As far as we're concerned, there's no shame in someone's deciding the conditions are more challenging than they are comfortable with. Please, everyone be safe out there.


I had an encounter with a swarm of bees on Banderas Bay on about March 20 while sailing from La Cruz to Paradise Village Marina. My experience with the bees was less dramatic than the one Profligate had with them near La Paz, and I doubt that mine were 'killer' bees. Or maybe they had just been in Mexico quite a while and became muy tranquilo, like the rest of us.

My bees came aboard a few at a time, and seemed as though they were looking for a place to rest. I kept flicking them off the boat. Eventually, there were more than I could flick off. Since I was alone, I started waving beach towels, then powered up and left them behind. Now that I think about it, maybe it was the exhaust fumes from my diesel that discouraged them.

I was obviously surprised to find bees on the water that far offshore. I ended up with a sting on my ankle and another on my thigh. I like the idea of using a fire extinguisher to chase them off. Thanks for the tip.

By the way, I came down in ’05 with the Ha-Ha. I want to thank everyone responsible for putting it together every year, as it was great. Since then, we've been back and forth between work in Ojai and cruising in Mexico. Life is good!

Jim Florence
Ciao Bella, Cavalier 39
Ojai / Banderas Bay

Jim — Thank you for the kind words about the Ha-Ha. We think we get as much pleasure from the event as anyone.

If you got stung by two bees but were still able to power away without suffering many more stings, they probably were honey bees. When Africanized bees sting a human, they send out a GPS-like locator to the other bees, who immediately rush to the attack. And then they attack relentlessly. Based on reports we've received from other cruisers, it's not uncommon for large swarms of bees to be found even miles offshore.


When our Lord Nelson 35 Grey Max was hauled out at a shipyard in Guaymas in '94, we had an experience with a bee swarm similar to Profligate's. I don't know if they were killer bees or not, but they wanted to take up residence under our dodger.

I was working on our Max Prop at the time, while my wife was in the cockpit working with some 3M 5200. She dove down the companionway to escape the bees and grabbed a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol. Without even thinking, she sprayed at the bees with the alcohol, as it was the only 'weapon' at hand. But it worked! Apparently the bees wanted no part of chemical warfare. They scrammed and didn't come back.

We later discovered that spraying rubbing alcohol was a good way to get rid of flies that went to sleep on the overhead at night. It was also a good way of dropping mosquitoes without hurting food, fabric, or varnished surfaces. We shared this tip with cruising friends for the rest of the time we cruised, which was until '97. There were several times when other cruisers told us about this trick, but we didn't tell them it was we who had discovered it.

Steve & Janet Bondelid
Former owners Grey Max, Lord Nelson 35

Steve and Janet — If we're not mistaken, you're also the first couple who had all the many systems on your boat running off solar power alone.


We did last year's Ha-Ha, and have just returned home from Mexico. We had a wonderful cruise, and the Ha-Ha was a great way to start it.

But I'm really writing to let the Grand Poobah know that we were also visited by 'killer bees' while in Mexico. I'm not sure if they were really Africanized bees or not, but they swarmed our mast while we were at Paradise Village at Nuevo Vallarta. Since our mast is keel-stepped, they came down the mast and into the cabin. I'm a little allergic to bee venom, so after trying many different methods of getting rid of them, fellow Ha-Ha'er Robert Forbes of the Newport Beach-based Hunter 456 Entropy went up the mast in his bee suit — those folks have everything on their boat! — and sprayed the openings with a can of Mexican Raid. We then left the marina and headed for La Cruz. Once we were out of the harbor, the bees left the boat. But what a great way to make you leave your slip!

Jim Jennett
Avalon, Mason 43
Lake Tahoe

Jim — Thanks for the kind words about the Ha-Ha. Based on the amount of feedback we've received on our report on the bee attack on Profligate near La Paz, the bees visiting boats problem in Mexico is a little more pervasive than anyone realized. One explanation is that bees are always looking for small openings to big cavities — such as are found on masts and booms — to create new hives.

What to do if you're allergic to bee venom and you want to cruise worry free in Mexico? You might want to buy your own bee suit. Full suits are available on the internet for under $150.


I'm responding to Jonathan 'Punk Dolphin' Livingston's letter last month in which he made an unfavorable comparison between the speed of the ProSail 40 catamaran Tuki, which set a Jazz Cup elapsed-time record a few years ago, and 505 dinghies.

I know 505s well, since it was the first dinghy from which I set a kite — at Mile Buoy in Santa Cruz in the late '60s, to be exact. And I subsequently raced on them a lot. The 505 race to Palo Alto was always a barn burner and, being a reach 99% of the time, it's an ideal showcase for the boat's speed potential.

But Livingston needs an education with regard to the ProSail 40s and Tuki's performance in that Jazz Cup. First off, the Jazz Cup has a beat that's over three times the distance to the weather mark of the 505 race to Palo Alto. Second, there was fairly light wind all the way to the San Rafael Bridge. Third, we were slowed a little when one of the crew, who I'll only refer to as 'Skip', slipped overboard while we were hoisting the kite by the Cal Maritime Academy. It took some time to drop the chute and sail back upwind to get him. Fourth, there was very light wind in the area of the Carquinez Bridge for over 20 minutes. And lastly, there was a beat back to the finish line at Benicia. Had Tuki had ideal conditions, she could have covered the 26-mile course in an hour.

After Tuki finished the course, we sailed back to Brickyard Cove. Despite the fact that there was still light air getting back to the Carquinez Bridge, just two hours later we were tied up at the cat's base at Brickyard Cove in Richmond. That's not bad for a 15-year-old boat with a mast that's six feet shorter than the original.

The other thing of note is that we're laughing all day long when we race Tuki because it's so much fun! It's too bad that some 'lead heads' have no idea how cool it is.

Tuki may not be an Extreme 40 like iShares, but she'd give one a run for her money in windy Bay conditions. During Speed Week in '06, Tuki's unofficial fastest speed was over 31 knots — and we weren't even pressed.

On the subject of racing records, I doubt that anyone will be able to beat the record of Tom Cat, another ProSail 40 catamaran, in the Doublehanded Farallones Race. Jack Halterman and Zan Drejus combined to sail the 50-mile course in two hours and change!

I hope that clears things up. So please, Jonathan, don't be a punk!

Michael Dias
Tuki, Pro Sail 40, Crew
San Francisco Bay


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